Woodard and the Trojans welcomed the high flying Shaw Hawks into town Friday, but it was a ground attack from the "Men of Troy" that made the difference as East Side ran their way to a 32-12 victory. East Side improved to 1-0, while Shaw fell to 0-1.
"We wanted to come in and run behind that experience offensive line. That line is a good group and we wanted to make sure we let them lead the way for us. We tried to be physical with those guys from the jump because we knew we had a depth advantage over them so we lined up and ran that ball right at them," said Kendrick Woodard.
The Trojans netted 271 total yards, with 261 on the ground on 34 carries and four touchdowns. The Hawks tallied 127 total yards (77 rushing, 50 passing).
Despite the win, Woodard was not pleased with the turnovers his team committed.
"It was the first game and even though I preached that we couldn't turn the ball over we did and that really held us back. We got in the red-zone a few times and couldn't do anything with it because we turned the ball over. Shaw has a great team and they are going to do great things. We have to continue to get better and protect that football. We can't win games constantly turning the ball over," said Woodard.
For Shaw head coach Kendrick Smith it was a long night filled with much of nothing.
"We came out here and we didn't play with any heart or any emotion. We just showed up and that's on me. I'm the coach and I'm suppose to have my kids ready to play," said Smith.
"Next week we're going to do some soul searching," said Smith.
Shaw opened the game with the ball, but was forced to punt.
East Side took over the ball on the Hawks' 35-yard line after a short punt. With 8:03 remaining in the first quarter East Side's Dy'monquae Pates scored from six yards out. Barron Burns added the two-point conversion for an 8-0 East Side lead.
Shaw's next possession ended in a fumble by Andre Pruitt, but East Side could not do any better as they turned the ball over on downs.
Shaw's next possession was stalled and the Hawks had to punt again. This time the punt from Pruitt was tipped by Barron Burns and caught by Phillip Williams, which gave the Trojans the ball on the Hawks' 21-yard line.
On East Side's first play after regaining the ball, Taquille Eastmon marched on a 21-yard touchdown run with 23-seconds left in the first quarter. The conversion attempt failed, but East Side led 14-0.
In the second quarter Shaw was forced to punt again with 11:03 on the clock. East Side responded by putting together a strong drive, but the Hawks defense came up clutch and forced an Eatmon to fumble and Shaw's Lerandel Allen recovered on the 35-yard line.
The Hawks managed to open things up when Pruitt connected with Octavius Stimmage for a 42-yard reception down to the East Side five-yard line. Pruitt later rushed for a four-yard touchdown with 7:00 left in the second quarter. The point after attempt failed, but Shaw cut the lead to 14-6, which is what the score remained at halftime.
The Trojans opened the third quarter running the football and with 9:01 left in the third Barron Burns scored on a 29 yard run. The conversion attempt failed, but East Side led 20-6.
The Hawks managed to put more points on the board with 1:52 left in the third quarter when Xavius Loggins recovered a fumble in the end zone for Shaw. The extra point attempt failed, but East Side closed the gap 20-12.
Shaw seemed to gain the momentum when Keveon Shepherd Jr., intercepted a pass from Pates, but the Hawks drive stalled and the team was forced to punt.
As the game rolled over into the fourth quarter, the Trojans made sure they put distance between them and the Hawks as Eatmon scored from six yards out with 9:37 left in the game and with 3:55 remaining Burns intercepted a pass from Pruitt and returned it 48 yards for a score to put the nail in the coffin and secure a 32-12 win.
Eatmon led the Trojans with 106 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns, Burns added 50 yards on six carries with a touchdown and Pates had 14 yards on 4 carries with a touchdown. Jalen Thomas had 34 yards on six carries and Perry Henry added 48 yards on three carries.
Defensively Burns led the way with four tackles with an interception return for a touchdown, a sack and a blocked punt. Adrian Gooden led the team with eight tackles and Caleb Silas finished with seven tackles with a sack. Pates also recorded a sack.
Shaw was led offensively by Pruitt who finished with 28 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown and completed 2-of-12 passes for 50 yards with an interception. Stimmage had two catches for 50 yards.
Allen led the defense with 11 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Loggins had eight tackles with a fumble recovery for a touchdown and Justin King added seven tackles.
East Side will be back in action Friday on the road in Mound Bayou. Shaw will be at home as they host the Leland Cubs. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m.